AEP / Fixed Rate Hikes

Rachael Belz: Should utilities be allowed to hike their fixed rate? No

Raising electric fees is a bad deal for Ohioans

Rachael Belz executive director of Ohio Citizen Action

COLUMBUS — “Using more electricity means your monthly utility bill goes up. And using less means your bill goes down, right? That’s what you’d expect, but that’s not what Ohio households will experience if the state’s Public Utilities Commission goes along with new proposals from the state’s leading utility companies.

AEP Ohio, Duke Energy, and FirstEnergy all intend to dramatically raise customer fixed charges in the coming months, as a hedge against falling revenues. Gains in energy efficiency and increased competition have been great for consumers, but utilities are worried these trends will hurt their bottom line. This fixed rate increase plan is intended solely to boost company profits.

…Fortunately, residents are getting wise to these games and coming together to say “no” to unfair fixed charge hikes. Last month, a proposal by Gulf Power in Florida to raise fixed charges was shot down after the public outcry. And many utility commissions around the country have rejected most proposals to increase them.

The Public Utility Commission of Ohio now has an opportunity to protect Ohio residents as well by rejecting AEP Ohio and Duke Energy’s unfair fixed rate hike proposal. And AEP Ohio residents have an opportunity to speak out very soon by attending an upcoming public hearing. For the hearing schedule and to learn how to submit a comment, visit puc.ohio.gov (case no: 16-1852). The more customers who speak out, the greater the chances of blocking this unreasonable, unfair electric bill hike.”

— opinion, Rachael Belz, Columbus Dispatch

link to full opinion

Rachael Belz is the executive director of Ohio Citizen Action, the state’s largest grassroots consumer and environmental organization, and has advocated for residential ratepayers for 25 years.

Counterpoint


Julie Sloat: Should utilities be allowed to hike their fixed rate? Yes

— Julie Sloat is President, chief operating officer at AEP Ohio, Columbus Dispatch

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